Food League contestant eats 92 wings in 8min

Mr Zermatt Neo and Ms Sarah Ow emerged winner and runner-up respectively at the inaugural Food League Singapore eating contest yesterday. Ms Ow finished 88 chicken wings in the same time Mr Neo polished off his 92.
Mr Zermatt Neo and Ms Sarah Ow emerged winner and runner-up respectively at the inaugural Food League Singapore eating contest yesterday. Ms Ow finished 88 chicken wings in the same time Mr Neo polished off his 92.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

He is winner in first contest organised by body, which wants to regulate such events

Polishing off 92 chicken wings in just eight minutes, personal trainer Zermatt Neo, 29, was the champion at the inaugural Food League Singapore eating contest yesterday.

His winning technique for the mid-joint of the wing involved cracking one end of it, sliding the flesh downwards to form a "meat umbrella" and then shoving the meat into his mouth at lightning speed.

Said Mr Neo: "Chicken wings require a lot more technique. It is the first time I have eaten so many, but I am only 40 per cent full."

Mr Neo trumped seven other competitors including Ms Sarah Ow, 29, who was featured in a viral Food League video last month, in which she devoured eight bowls of lor mee in 17 minutes.

Ms Ow, a flight attendant, came in second at yesterday's event, which was held outside the Wing Zone eatery in Buangkok.

She finished 88 chicken wings in the same time as Mr Neo.

Food League Singapore was set up last year by competitive eating enthusiasts in a bid to standardise contests and introduce a national ranking system across the island.

Its founder, Mr Sean Lee, 35, a sales executive, said eating competitions started gaining some interest here about nine years ago. Mr Lee himself can finish 82 wontons in eight minutes, a personal best.

He said: "The league's aim is to ensure that aspects such as timing and safety are standardised across all contests to elevate the level of competition and minimise disputes."

For instance, at Food League events, organisers ensure that paramedics are around. The "governing body" also picks safer food for contestants to consume, avoiding sharper parts such as wing tips.

The league plans to run such events once every quarter and will be recruiting contestants from all over Singapore.

Ms Ow, a member of the league, believes the organisation can help to put Singapore on the competitive food-eating map, which is dominated by countries such as Japan and the United States. She said: "It will help to generate more interest and recognition for the activity. It is like participating in a sport - I feel a thrill whenever I am competing."

The event also featured an amateur round involving eight contestants. The winner was Mr Zach Lee, a 30-year-old charter pilot, who finished 20 spicy chicken wings in five minutes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 08, 2017, with the headline 'Food League contestant eats 92 wings in 8min'. Print Edition | Subscribe